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Physiol Rev. 2005 Oct;85(4):1373-416.

Cardiac stem cells and mechanisms of myocardial regeneration.

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Cardiovascular Research Institute, Department of Medicine, New York Medical College, Valhalla, NY10595, USA.


This review discusses current understanding of the role that endogenous and exogenous progenitor cells may have in the treatment of the diseased heart. In the last several years, a major effort has been made in an attempt to identify immature cells capable of differentiating into cell lineages different from the organ of origin to be employed for the regeneration of the damaged heart. Embryonic stem cells (ESCs) and bone marrow-derived cells (BMCs) have been extensively studied and characterized, and dramatic advances have been made in the clinical application of BMCs in heart failure of ischemic and nonischemic origin. However, a controversy exists concerning the ability of BMCs to acquire cardiac cell lineages and reconstitute the myocardium lost after infarction. The recognition that the adult heart possesses a stem cell compartment that can regenerate myocytes and coronary vessels has raised the unique possibility to rebuild dead myocardium after infarction, to repopulate the hypertrophic decompensated heart with new better functioning myocytes and vascular structures, and, perhaps, to reverse ventricular dilation and wall thinning. Cardiac stem cells may become the most important cell for cardiac repair.

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